Chocolate Cupcakes in Orange Peel Cups

With Victoria Day week-end upon us, many people will be thinking of outdoor events. For some reason, food just tastes better when it is cooked over a campfire (or barbecue).

To date, no one seems to know who actually started toasting marshmallows on a stick, over a campfire. S’mores have been a camp tradition ever since the recipe first appeared in the 1927 edition of the Girl Scout Handbook. No doubt it was given its name ….. short for ‘some more’.

It seems there are endless campfire dessert concoctions such as: dessert pizza, apple pie foil packets, monkey bread, pineapple upside-down cake foil packets, walnut chocolate burritos, cinnamon buns in orange peel cups, etc., etc.

Since Brion & I are not inclined to go camping, I baked these in the oven. The orange peels infuse the chocolate with a fragrant, citrus flavor. Nice!

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Chocolate Cupcakes in Orange Peel Cups
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Instructions
Oranges & Cake
  1. Cut oranges in half. Using a grapefruit knife, remove pulp from each half. Juice the pulp & reserve 1 cup for the cake mix.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil & 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice. Mix until batter has no lumps.
  3. Place the orange cups into a muffin tin & fill with about 1/4 cup each of the chocolate batter. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to cool.
Topping
  1. In a bowl, blend cream cheese, vanilla & orange zest with a hand mixer until smooth. Add butter & mix on medium-high for a couple of minutes. Add powdered sugar & blend until topping is uniformly smooth. Place a dollop of topping on each dessert.
Recipe Notes

If you wish to bake these desserts over a campfire:

  • Wrap each orange loosely in aluminium foil, taking care to keep the oranges upright.
  • Place the wrapped oranges on the edge of the camp-fire, out of the direct flame but close enough to the embers so the cakes will bake.
  • After 25 - 30 minutes remove the cakes from the heat and carefully unwrap. You should see cooked cake peeking out of the orange cup. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before adding a dollop of topping or just eat as is.

Papaya-Stuffed Chicken Breast with Basmati Rice

Something that was quite apparent to Brion and I when we visited Cuba last year, was that pork and chicken were their favorite meats. It is said that Cuban food reflects the Cuban spirit. A hearty appetite for sweetness and the richness of life, respect for tradition and spiced with a spark of adventure. Although papaya is native to the tropical areas of Mexico as well as Central and South America, it is now cultivated in most countries having a tropical climate. The fruit goes by several names such as pawpaw, papaye (French), fruta bomba or lechosa (Spanish).

It is unclear as to how rice became central to Cuban cuisine, but for a Cuban, a meal without rice is simply not complete. Basmati rice is a unique strain of rice often associated with Asian and Indian cuisine as it originated in India. Characterized by its light nutty flavor and floral aroma, Basmati makes a good choice to pair with fish or chicken dishes. When cooked it retains its individual, non-sticky grains which allow sauces to coat well. Both brown and white varieties are available but brown will give a much deeper flavor.


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Papaya-Stuffed Chicken Breast with Basmati Rice

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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Cuban, Moroccan

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Instructions
Chicken & Rice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Using the tip of a sharp boning knife, cut a pocket in each chicken breast through a 2-inch slit in the side. Place papaya slices into each chicken breast & sprinkle with cinnamon. Dip each breast into melted butter then into cracker crumbs.

  3. Heat 1 Tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken breasts in skillet & brown about 5 minutes on each side. Place browned breasts on baking sheet.

  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, then flip over & continue to bake until chicken is no longer pink in center about 20 minutes more. Meanwhile, bring rice & water to a boil in a saucepan. Cover; simmer until rice is tender & liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.

Pineapple Sauce
  1. In skillet that was used to brown chicken, melt 1 Tbsp butter scraping up any brown bits. Stir in orange juice, pineapple, brown sugar & all spices. Reduce to medium & simmer until reduced, about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low & continue to simmer until sauce is thickened. Serve the chicken breasts over rice with pineapple sauce spooned over top.

Kumquat & Walnut Stuffed Chicken Breast

Kumquats are believed to have originated in China with their earliest historical mention being around the 12th century. Orange in color, this small bite-sized fruit can be eaten skin and all. The peel is the sweetest part of the fruit and the sourness comes from the pulp, seeds and juice.

Unlike it’s citrus kin, kumquats are able to withstand low temperatures and frost. A small evergreen shrub that can also be hydrophytic, which means they can grow in aquatic environments, and the fruits will drift towards the shore during harvest season. Kumquats are in season January thru April.

Commonly cultivated in Asia, the Middle East, parts of Europe and the southern United States. They can be used in every imaginable combination including pies, cookies, smoothies, ice cream, marmalade, marinades, salsa and vinaigrette. My choice today is in a stuffing for chicken breast. The combination of kumquats and orange tastes very unique.

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Kumquat & Walnut Stuffed Chicken Breast
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Instructions
  1. Wash & chop kumquats (do not peel). In a small bowl, combine with walnuts, onion & pepper.
  2. Between two pieces of plastic wrap, pound chicken breasts to an even thickness. Spoon half of the filling on each breast. Fold over to encase filling; secure with picks if necessary. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Set out 3 shallow dishes. In one combine bread crumbs, orange zest & parsley; fill another with orange juice & in third beat the egg with water. Dip each stuffed breast carefully in orange juice, then in bread crumb mixture to coat, then in beaten egg & again in bread crumbs. Place coated breasts, seam side down, on a lightly buttered baking pan. Drizzle with melted butter.
  4. Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Uncover & bake 10 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

German Banana-Orange Pancakes

You could say the German pancake is a cross between a souffle and an omelet. Baked in a round pan with sides, it is quite similar to a Yorkshire pudding in which the center is sunken. It derived from the German Pfannkuchen  and is also called Dutch baby pancake. This light, airy pancake is crispy around the edges while retaining a tender, custard like middle.

In most cases these pancakes would be served with lemon slices, powdered sugar and butter. My choice today is to serve them with sliced bananas drizzled with orange sauce.

This is one of the simplest dishes to prepare and one of the most impressive to serve. I don’t actually recall my mother making these but we certainly did eat the more ‘common’ pancakes, which were so good as well.

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German Banana-Orange Pancakes
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Pancakes (2 - 9" pancakes)
Banana/Orange Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
Pancakes (2 - 9" pancakes)
Banana/Orange Sauce
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Instructions
Pancakes
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Generously butter two 9-inch cake pans. In blender, process eggs gently until light in color. Add remaining ingredients; process until smooth & pour into pans. Bake 20 minutes; reduce heat to 350 F. & bake 10 minutes more. Slide onto warm plates. Prepare banana/orange sauce WHILE pancakes are baking.
Banana/Orange Sauce
  1. In a skillet, combine butter, sugar, orange juice & zest; bring to a boil. Peel bananas & slice; add to orange sauce. Stir to coat. Remove from heat. Pour banana/orange sauce over baked pancakes & serve.

The Magic of Christmas

The Christmas season makes us reflect on many different things; to live life a little more grateful, more hopeful and a little more peaceful. It is a time to connect with friends and loved ones to enjoy the traditions we grew up with. 

Today, December 25th, our family celebrates my sister Rita’s birthday as well as Christmas. I have fond memories of her Christmas Eve family birthday ‘parties’. On the eve of Christmas, our family would go to church. After returning home, we were joined by some family friends to have  birthday cake and homemade rootbeer. My parents wanted my sister to always have this special time to honor her birthday apart from the Christmas festivities.

As I write about this memory, something else comes to mind. Our church at that time, was a small, old building. For the choir it had a small loft. As long as I can remember, the same lady played the organ as well as directing the choir members in song. She in turn, had a teenage daughter gifted with an unbelievable voice. One of the highlights of the Christmas service was to hear her sing a solo version of ‘Oh Holy Night’. You could hear a pin drop, it was breathtaking how angelic and beautiful her voice was. I get emotional even now remembering it.

Brion and I have spent many Christmas seasons in other parts of the world. One of the many ‘scenes’ that has left a lasting memory was in Italy, in the town of Assisi. We arrived in late afternoon with the  Trafalgar  group. The town sits atop one of the rolling hills in the region. The Basilica is a massive structure that dates back to the 13th century. By the time we finished visiting the Basilica the sun was setting. Brion and I stepped outside and in the meadow of the church stood a huge nativity scene with human size, terracotta figures. It was just an amazing sight to see and especially right at that time of day.

As much as I love to look at and appreciate the beauty of seasonal decorations, I’ve never been one who gets to involved with that aspect of the season. Food preparation has always been my calling and probably always will be. I hope you have enjoyed my pre-Christmas blogs as well as found them useful. I’m keeping it simple today with just two recipes. One is  SAVORY STUFFING  for your bird. This recipe is my best effort at a ‘taste of a memory’ from my mother’s stuffing. The second recipe is for MINI CHEESECAKES.  These are my virtual ‘birthday cakes’ for you Rita.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY –we love you — enjoy your day!

                     SEASON’S GREETINGS to anyone reading my blog.

                  THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS IS FOUND ANYTIME SOMEONE’S

               DREAM  BECOMES REAL BY THE KINDNESS ANOTHER EXTENDS!

 

 

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Savory Stuffing / Mini Cheesecakes
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Course dessert, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Savory Stuffing
Base for 3 dozen Mini Cheesecake Cups
Lemon Cheesecake (1 Dozen Minis)
Chocolate Cheesecake (1 Dozen Minis)
Orange Cheesecake (1 Dozen Minis)
Course dessert, Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Savory Stuffing
Base for 3 dozen Mini Cheesecake Cups
Lemon Cheesecake (1 Dozen Minis)
Chocolate Cheesecake (1 Dozen Minis)
Orange Cheesecake (1 Dozen Minis)
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Instructions
Savory Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, boil potatoes; drain & mash. Set aside. Saute onion, celery, garlic, mushrooms & seasonings in margarine. Remove from heat. Combine with bread cubes, mashed potatoes & broth. ADD ONLY ENOUGH BROTH TO MAKE A PROPER STUFFING CONSISTENCY. You may not need the full amount of broth. This will make sufficient stuffing for a 4 - 4.5 kg (9 - 10 lb) turkey.
Base for Mini Cheesecakes
  1. Combine crumbs, sugar & margarine. In each of 36 paper-lined, mini tart pans (2 1/4" dia.), press 1 Tbsp of crumb mixture. Bake at 325 F. for 5 minutes.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, combine cream cheese, sugar, zest, juice & vanilla until well blended. Beat in egg; fill cups. Bake for about 25 minutes. Cool before removing from pan. Chill. Garnish as desired before serving. For the chocolate cheesecakes, blend beaten egg & vanilla with cooled chocolate before beating in cream cheese & sugar so the chocolate does not harden into lumps.

Thanksgiving Day in Canada

The second Monday of October has been the day Canada has celebrated Thanksgiving since 1957. We have now entered into our Autumn season with all it’s breathtaking fabulous fall foliage. Part of Canada’s appeal is it’s four seasons that offer changing landscapes and temperatures. 

I, for one, have always loved the changing seasons. That’s not to say that I like freezing cold and slippery roads but that I have come to understand the important role each one plays in the ‘big picture’. When Brion and I initially landscaped our property, careful consideration was given to what plants were planted. Over the years it has developed into a beautiful tapestry of color through our growing season.

Growing up on the farm, Fall was an especially busy time with the grain crops being harvested, garden vegetables being canned, frozen or just stored for use over the coming months. So much needed to be done before winter would set in. As a teenager it all just seemed like a lot of work. Even as hard as my parents worked at making a living from farming, I think they felt a real sense of satisfaction in what they were able to achieve. I realize now that even without being aware of it the visual beauty of the farmland at harvest was imprinted on me forever.

Thanksgiving Day in Canada is linked to the European tradition of harvest festivals. A common image seen at this time of year is a cornucopia, or horn, filled with seasonal fruit and vegetables. The cornucopia, which means ‘Horn of Plenty’ in Latin, was a symbol of bounty and plenty in ancient Greece. Turkeys, pumpkins, ears of corn and large displays of food are also used to symbolize Thanksgiving Day.

Over the years, Brion and I have chose to have a variety of different meats for our Thanksgiving meal. Turkey is always the tradition for our Christmas dinner and since the two holidays come fairly close together, why not! All that being said though, we decided this year to roast just the turkey breast with stuffing. I also incorporated some of that wonderful Butternut squash with cranberries into the meal as well. For dessert we are having some pumpkin chiffon tarts. As a ‘kid’, I remember having a great dislike for the regular pumpkin pie — you know the kind –‘solid’. Then one year my mother made pumpkin  ‘CHIFFON‘  pie. Well, now that was glorious and I have loved it ever since.

Today in my recipes I have only included the Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Pumpkin Chiffon Tarts. I thought I’d get into the turkey and stuffing recipes later in the season.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

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Butternut Squash with Cranberries / Pumpkin Chiffon Tarts
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Course dessert, Main Dish
Servings
Ingredients
Butternut Squash with Cranberries
Pumpkin Chiffon Tart Filling
Pastry
Course dessert, Main Dish
Servings
Ingredients
Butternut Squash with Cranberries
Pumpkin Chiffon Tart Filling
Pastry
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Butternut Squash with Cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Split squash in half; place hollow side down on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes or until completely soft to the touch.
  2. In a small skillet, saute celery & onion in margarine until tender. Add the apple, salt, lemon juice & pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until apple is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in cranberries, sugar & water. Cook & stir until berries pop & liquid is syrupy. If you prefer, you could process this mixture for a couple of seconds in a food processor.
  3. Remove seeds & membrane from cooked squash; mash well. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, balsamic vinegar & maple syrup. Place some squash in individual custard dishes. Make a hollow in the center for the cranberry 'filling'. Add cranberries & serve.
Pumpkin Chiffon Tart Filling
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine first 7 ingredients; mix well. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, regular milk & egg yolks; combine well. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to a heavy custard. Boil 2 minutes, add 1 Tbsp margarine. Place wax paper over custard to prevent a 'skin' from forming. Let custard become cold (it can be refrigerated overnite at this point, finishing it the following day) then stir in 1/4 cup orange juice.
  2. Whip envelope of dessert topping with 1/2 cup milk & 1/2 tsp vanilla until stiff peaks form. It should yield about 2 cups. Put aside the amount you need to garnish tarts with. Fold remaining whipped dessert topping into custard. Spoon custard into a large pastry bag with a large 'star' tip. Fill baked mini tart shells. Decorate with a small dollop of dessert topping.
Pastry
  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt. Cut in white & yellow Crisco shortening. In a 1 cup measuring cup place egg & vinegar; beat well. Add enough COLD water to fill cup. Pour all at once over flour mixture, mixing until pastry pulls away from sides of bowl. This should only take a couple of minutes, making sure not to over mix pastry. Roll out on floured surface. Using the bottom side of tart pans, cut pastry circles & place over each 'cup'. Bake at 350 F. until golden. Cool on wire rack before filling with pumpkin custard. If your using purchased shells follow baking instructions & cool before filling as well.
Recipe Notes
  • This pastry & pumpkin chiffon custard recipe was one I started using many years ago while working in the food industry. They were some of my favorites because they were pretty much 'fail proof'. If you want to make a double batch of each it will give you 4 - 9-inch pies. You can make them up to the point of decorating. Freeze until needed then just bring them out & thaw, decorate and you got a nice little homemade dessert just like that!

Strawberry-Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with White Wine Sangria

 

This week we celebrate my husband Brion’s birthday, so it seems fitting to feature a             STRAWBERRY-LEMON POPPY SEED  ‘birthday cake’ with WHITE WINE SANGRIA.

BIRTHDAY WISHES FOR YOU BRION!

With your love and strong support many of my endeavors have become reality which may not have otherwise. You’re the best!

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Strawberry-Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with White Wine Sangria
A tender bundt cake with a nice lemony filling tucked inside.
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Course dessert
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Course dessert
Servings
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Instructions
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray & flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat margarine & sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest; mix well. Separate 1 egg, using the white in cake batter & yolk in lemon filling. Add the 2 whole eggs & 1 egg white to first mixture; beat well.
  3. In another bowl, combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt & allspice. Gradually add to the margarine mixture alternately with yogurt, beating well after each addition. Transfer to Bundt pan & bake 30-35 minutes or until tests done. Cool in pan 5-10 minutes. Invert on cooling rack & let cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare filling by combining remaining egg yolk with 1/4 cup cold water. Whisk in 1 3/4 cups of hot water. Cook until clear (do not add any butter). Chill with waxed paper touching top.
  5. Prepare dessert topping according to pkg directions. Place cake on serving plate. Cut 1/2-inch slice from top of cake. Set aside. Hollow out, making a tunnel with 3/4-inch sides & bottom. Fold whipped topping into lemon filling. Divide in HALF. Fold fruit into 1/2 of the filling. Spoon into tunnel. Place top slice back on cake. 'Ice' cake with the rest of the filling. Chill.
Sangria
  1. Combine sugar, lemonade, lime and orange juice. Stir well until sugar dissolves. Add white wine. Chill. Just before serving, add club soda & fresh fruit. YIELD: 7 LITERS or 30 CUPS

Rhubarb Desserts

I can not remember ever being able to pick fresh rhubarb in the middle of May here in northern Alberta, Canada. We are definitely seeing some serious changes in the weather.

I love everything about the plant — how good it tastes, the beautiful huge foliage in the garden and how it can keep on producing all season long. The uses of rhubarb are endless. For most part, I think it is usually thought of as a dessert ingredient. I tried making it into a spicy chutney with pork tenderloin for supper one night and it was real nice.

Bordering one side of my mother’s large country garden grew six or eight rhubarb plants. I can’t even imagine how much they would produce. I recall that special taste of her Saskatoon-Rhubarb PieSaskatoon berries grew wild in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. This was a good reason for our family to pack a picnic lunch and make the drive on a Sunday afternoon to pick saskatoon berries. Not only did it make for quality family time but those fresh berries were soooo– good!.

Here are a couple of dessert recipes I made with some of my first rhubarb stalks of this season. One is Rhubarb-Blueberry Cobbler, an old fashioned baked dessert with a tender biscuit crust sprinkled with sugar. The other one is Rhubarb-Orange Cheesecake Parfait.   If a rhubarb plant isn’t growing somewhere in your back yard you can usually locate some at a neighborhood Farmer’s Market throughout the summer.

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Rhubarb Desserts
Enjoy a little rhubarb nostalgia in two different presentations.
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Rhubarb-Blueberry Cobbler
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Ingredients
Rhubarb-Blueberry Cobbler
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Instructions
Rhubarb-Blueberry Cobbler
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix chopped rhubarb & blueberries together in a large saucepan. Blend sugar & cornstarch together & stir into the fruit mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup cold water.
  3. Place on medium heat & bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low & cook until juices flow & fruit is soft. Pour into an 8-cup casserole dish.
  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, 1 Tbsp sugar & salt. Blend well. Cut in margarine with a pastry cutter until mixture is a coarse texture. In another bowl blend milk & egg.
  5. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add milk/egg mixture & stir until flour is moistened. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto the fruit mixture. Sprinkle with brown sugar evenly. Bake about 25-30 minutes. Serve plain or with a dollop of yogurt or whipped cream.
Rhubarb-Orange Cheesecake Parfaits
  1. In a plastic bag, coarsely crush gingersnap cookies; set aside.
  2. Chop rhubarb stalks & place in saucepan with water. Cook over low heat until soft. Remove rhubarb from heat. Add sugar, Cointreau & cornstarch; mix well. Return to heat & stir until thickened; cool completely.
  3. In a large glass bowl, dissolve jelly powder & boiling water, making sure it is completely dissolved before adding to cream cheese. Blend in cream cheese with a hand mixer on low speed. Whisk in juice & zest of orange as well as the Cool Whip.
  4. In parfait glasses, spoon a layer of cream cheese mixture; sprinkle lightly with gingersnap crumbs then add a layer of rhubarb sauce. Repeat layers one more time making sure to divide cheesecake, rhubarb sauce & crumbs evenly between parfaits ending with cheesecake mixture.
  5. Refrigerate about 4 hours; garnish a bit more orange zest & a fresh mint leaf if desired.

Stuffed Burgers

RESHAPING THE BASIC BURGER

It’s only mid May and the enticing smell of the neighborhood barbecues drifts through the air. Spring has felt more like summer due to the high temperatures we are having.

Burgers have long been a summer barbecue staple so why not put a new spin on it. My first thought goes to using the same spice combination for a variety of ground meats such as beef, chicken/turkey, or pork. Next make a filling that would taste great in whatever meat you feel like serving or better still use a variety.

Over the last couple of weeks I did some recipe development  on seven different ideas to simplify  making  ‘Stuffed Burgers’.   In my next few blogs I would like to share these recipes with you.  Here is the list:   > Moroccan            >  Apple-Zucchini Bacon            > Savory-Herb                               > Seafood/Avocado &  Spinach/Cheese Portobello Mushroom Burgers                                                  > Mushroom-Cheese Stuffed Ground Salmon    > Garden Grain Burgers    

The focus of my blog is very often on the ‘Taste of a Memory’  so I decided to start my stuffed burger series with a memory from Morocco.

In 2014, my husband Brion and I enjoyed a holiday travelling Spain, Morocco, and Portugal. I had never really paid to much attention to the interesting flavor of the Moroccan spices before that trip. Since then I have made numerous dishes that included them as we have come to really enjoy that flavor.

Key Moroccan spices include aniseed, black pepper, cayenne, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, paprika, parsley, saffron and turmeric.      

Morocco is like a tree whose roots lie in Africa but whose leaves breath in European air. This is a metaphor that has been used to describe a country that is profoundly traditional and strongly drawn to the modern. It is this double-sided, seemingly contradictory disposition that gives Morocco its cultural richness. The country is slightly larger in area than California. Unlike most other African countries, it produces all the food it needs to feed its people. Located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the country is rich in fish and seafood. Beef is not plentiful, so meals are usually built around lamb or poultry. Another Moroccan staple is couscous, made from fine grains of a wheat product called semolina. It is served many different ways with vegetables, meat or seafood.

In today’s  Moroccan Burgers, I used beef and turkey patties, stuffing them with a spicy fruit filling. Strange as it seems, Brion and I found mustard   to be a great condiment to use on them.  In keeping with the Moroccan theme, couscous makes a nice side dish however you choose to prepare it. Your comments are most welcome.                                       

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Stuffed Burgers
I used the same spice combination in the basic meat patty recipe for whatever meat I chose to use ( beef, chicken/turkey, pork), to keep it simple. These meat patties were then used to prepare the SAVORY-HERB, APPLE-ZUCCHINI BACON, & MOROCCAN burgers.
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Ingredients
Basic Meat Patties
Moroccan Spicy Fruit Filling
Easy Couscous Side Dish
Servings
Ingredients
Basic Meat Patties
Moroccan Spicy Fruit Filling
Easy Couscous Side Dish
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Instructions
Basic Meat Patties
  1. Place ground meat in a large bowl & combine with spices. Mix well. Shape into 8 - 1/4" thick patties. Place equal amounts of prepared filling in center of each of 4 patties. Top with remaining 4 patties & press gently to seal, enclosing filling completely.
  2. Place burgers in a greased foil disposable pan. Preheat barbecue grill to a medium heat, place pan on grates & close lid. Turn burgers once during cooking time, (do not overcook as the meat is only 1/4" thick on each side).
  3. Serve on a Ciabatta bun (or hamburger bun of your choice).
Moroccan Spicy Fruit Filling
  1. Combine dates, apricots, raisins, apple & orange juice in a small bowl. Season with spices. Mix well; set aside to let marinate for a few hours. Divide between 4 burger patties & complete as above.
Couscous Side Dish
  1. Heat 1/2 tsp olive oil in small saucepan. Add next 4 ingredients. Cook & stir until green onion is softened. Add honey. Heat & stir until onion is coated.
  2. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add couscous & 1 tsp olive oil. Stir. Cover. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes without lifting the lid. Fluff with fork; stirring in remaining ingredients adding a bit of butter if it seems to solid. Makes about 2 3/4 cups.
Recipe Notes
  • I found it really made this whole burger idea easy if I made 908 grams (2lbs) of each of the 3 types of ground meat into patties. Portion the meat with a scoop into 56 grams (2 oz.) balls, flatten & place in a plastic container, layered singly between a non-stick waxed paper to freeze.
  • When it comes time to use, take out the number of patties you require for the meal. Prepare the filling of choice, stuff & cook. What could be easier than that for a quick & easy great tasting meal! 

Strawberry Cheesecake

CELEBRATING MOTHER’S DAY!

Mother’s Day is our time to reflect and show gratitude to the women and mother’s who have been mentors and caregivers; ultimately those who have helped to shape us into who we are.

When my mother passed away in 1978, a friend said to me, ‘she will always be with you’. At that time I hadn’t really understood that comment fully. As the years go by I realized that is so true but of course it is never the same.  Never a day goes by without something  triggering a special memory of her.

Beauty lives deep in the heart of a mother and all she does for her family. This blog is especially to celebrate:  the special memories of my mother for her endless giving of selfless love — my mother-in-law, Dolores, for her loving and kind ways and raising that ‘special’ man  I love sharing my life with — to my sisters, who have given so much of themselves to be such great moms.

My choice of recipe for today’s blog is one that I have always enjoyed to make for special occasions — No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake. 

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Strawberry Cheesecake
A showy, light cheesecake tasting almost like you were eating a strawberry mousse dessert.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8-10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Cheesecake
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8-10 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Cheesecake
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine crumbs, coconut & butter; press into bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven & cool. Line sides of pan with a strip of parchment paper wide enough to reach the top of pan.
  2. Reserve several strawberries for garnish. Cut two 1/4" slices from center part of enough strawberries to press in a single row of slices around base edge of pan. Cut up remaining strawberries to make 2 cups.
  3. Process strawberries in food processor slightly; add softened cream cheese, sugar, orange & lemon juice. Continue to process until very smooth.
  4. Soften gelatin in cold water; stir over low heat until dissolved. Beat into cheese mixture. Refrigerate until mixture just begins to mound. Fold in 1 cup whipped cream; pour into prepared crust & refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove cheesecake from pan; carefully remove parchment paper.
  5. Garnish with whipped cream, strawberry slices & fresh mint leaves.
Recipe Notes
  • In the picture for the blog I chose to dip some strawberries to use in the garnish. Other times, I have made a floret of whipped cream on top of each serving piece topped it with a slice of strawberry & a piece of fresh mint.
  • On occasion, I haven't baked the crust if time was of the essence & the cheesecake would be used right away.
  • If you prefer a stronger strawberry flavor the 1 cup of whipping cream can be omitted. The cheesecake seems to have no problem 'setting up' without it.